We have been out on the road on Halloween for five of the last seven years. Unfamiliar towns can pose a dilemma on this holiday, as we learned the hard way.
One year we found ourselves in Gulf Shores, Alabama on October 31. We scoped out the local newspaper and found that the town of Foley (about 20 minutes away) was having a Harvest Festival. So we ducked in a couple of thrift stores that day and scavenged some makeshift costumes for the kids.
We headed out to Foley and got there to find massive crowds and little fun. We wandered around for a while, but really, it was just lame. Even the kids realized it. So we piled back in the car and drove back to Gulf Shores to do some trick or treating.
They Ran Out of Halloween Candy
We went to a popular neighborhood near the library only to find that most of the houses had run out of candy already. We finally found a small neighborhood further out that still had a stash to hand out, but by this time, the kids were tired, frustrated and a tad disappointed. It was not our best Halloween.
The next year we were in Kissimmee, Florida. We scouted the paper and found a nearby church was having a Halloween Celebration during the day.
Parties Can Be Boring
It was okay – the five year old enjoyed it because they had a bouncy slide. The two older kids were kind of bored.
Later, we went to the campground’s party. The young one got her face painted, which she liked. Otherwise – boring, even though we did go home with a cake from the cakewalk. Another letdown.
Last year we were in Cortez, NM. I called the local Chamber of Commerce to try to get some information about the Halloween parade that was listed on their site – without dates or times. No one answered the phone.
Next, I tried the newspaper and asked the gal that answered the phone if she had any suggestions for trick or treating. She was happy to suggest a couple of neighborhoods that were popular and safe. She was very nice.
We Ended Up At The Hospital
In addition, hubby clipped out a holiday celebration ad to be held at the hospital from the paper. We decided to try that.
When we arrived, it was a bit weird, to be honest. We walked through a wing of the hospital that was very small and very empty, taking the elevator up to the next floor.
I must give them kudos for trying, as they had set up a table with small bags of candy to give away and they had some nice hot cider. But there was hardly anyone there and it was just eerie. So the kids got their bags and we scrammed.
One of the neighborhoods the newspaper gal had suggested happened to be right behind our campground. So, we drove directly to it from the hospital and parked on a side road.
The kids spent the next hour happily tramping from porch lit house to house, collecting their loot. They had a blast and got way too much candy.
No More Harvest Celebrations
I think we are done with organized “Harvest Celebrations.” It sounds like such a great idea, but if you are not familiar with who is putting it on, you can easily be disappointed if and when they are not organized properly.
I think we are better off scouting out some nice neighborhoods early in the day and simply sticking to the traditional Trick-or-Treating. Call the city or chamber of commerce or even the paper to ask for advice as to where to go.
I have to admit, there is just something a bit wild and magical about being out after dark, running down the sidewalks with flashlights, laughing and being all dressed up and having fun. You just can’t organize that.